AARP Announces Survey Results on Importance of High-speed Internet Expansion in Maine

Published: Dec. 4, 2019 at 8:02 AM EST
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AARP Maine announced today the results of their polling on High-speed Internet in Maine through the 2019 Critical Insights on Maine tracking survey conducted in October. Representing a membership of 230,000 in Maine, AARP, the leading non-profit, non-partisan organization devoted to the needs and desires of all Americans as they age, commissioned the items to gather Mainers’ opinions on the importance of high-speed internet in the state. The survey was conducted by Critical Insights, a division of Digital Research, Inc., and includes the opinions of 600 registered Maine voters age 18 and older.

“This survey reveals that Mainers are very concerned about the expansion of high-speed internet in our state, particularly to underserved areas,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director. “A good broadband connection can decrease loneliness and depression, increase opportunities for furthering education, and expand services such as telemedicine and free captioned telephone services for the hard of hearing.”

Results of the Critical Insights on Maine survey:

• Eight out of ten voters in Maine support state incentives to expand high-speed internet service to unserved areas of the state. Half of all voters strongly support such incentives.

• Three out of four surveyed voters support partnerships between governments and others to expand high-speed internet in Maine.

• Eight out of ten voters believe that elected officials in Maine should ensure that high-speed internet is available to underserved areas in the state. Half strongly agree that elected officials should ensure broadband is available.

A member of the Maine Broadband Coalition, AARP believes that affordable and reliable internet service can help older adults age-in-place productively and safely. High-speed internet can enhance access to tele-medicine, civic engagement, friends and family, entertainment, on-line learning and other internet-based applications that provide social interaction and help with health challenges. Family caregivers also benefit from broadband access, as do children of all ages who need it for school.

On October 15, 2019, Governor Janet Mills announced that the state of Maine has joined the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, a major step toward making Maine even more livable for people of every age. Social participation is an integral part of the Network’s philosophy and by expanding broadband access, Maine has the opportunity to increase internet access in homes and small businesses which will benefit all Mainers.

“Currently, Maine lags behind national broadband development and faces challenges with rural communities being disconnected from a modern economy,” said Parham. “As the oldest state per capita, AARP hopes that this survey will serve as a catalyst to substantive discussions in 2020 among Maine’s community leaders and elected officials to effectively address the need for broadband expansion in our state.”

The complete AARP Maine results of the 2019 Critical Insights on Maine survey, and Background and Methodology Report are attached. Critical Insights on Maine has been documenting the attitudes, perceptions, and preferences of Maine’s residents for more than 20 years, making it the longest-running consistently-administered tracking survey in the Northeast.

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